Brusnev Mikhail Ivanovich 

Technological engineer, revolutionary, organizer of one of the first social democratic groups in Russia.

I went to the village of Watchtower of the Kuban region in a simple Cossack family. His father served for almost twenty years, of which he spent a good half in battles and campaigns. For military distinction, he received a personal nobility, he was made into the cornet, and then he was appointed as the chief ataman of the Kuban Cossack army as the head of the Cossack stanitsa. The father also cleared the same fate to his sons. The elders, Gavriil and Yakov, entered the cadet school, whence they became officers, but Michael, despite the dissatisfaction of his father, chose his own way: after finishing the real department of the Stavropol gymnasium in 1885, he decided to get a higher education and entered the St. Petersburg Institute of Technology. His mother supported him in this choice. Although her father had little regard for her opinion, he was forced to give up. The sad fate of the eldest of the sisters of Michael, who was widowed at 25, played its role. Mother reminded her father about this: “Here she is - your military service! Just a little war, and all our sons will be sent to her first! They will fall down like Peter from Anyuta! ... And then - at least one thing may not be touched ... ".

In the first Petersburg years, Brusnev had little interest in politics. He was so far from her, so beyond all suspicion, that his comrades in the institute and the fraternities asked him to hide or preserve all sorts of illegal books and records that he had the opportunity to read. Michael did not guess that fate brought him together in his native, Kuban, local groups with people who secretly plotted an attempt on the Tsar himself ... .

In March 1887, members of the Narodnaya Volya terrorist group, who were plotting an assassination attempt on Alexander III , were arrested , and on May 8, five of them, including Comrade Brusnev on the Kuban fraternity, Pakhom Andreyushkin, were executed.

These events shook Brusneva. He wanted to understand what had happened, to understand the meaning of the sacrifice, to which all these still very young people, his peers, had no hesitation.

The subsequent drastic measures of the institute authorities led to the opposite result. Student circles began to live more actively.

Heads of circles looked out for those students who seemed to them capable of conspiratorial work. That is exactly what Michael was involved in this work.

He managed to get the first volume of Marx's Capital, Plekhanov's brochure “Socialism and Political Struggle”. The study of Capital helped to understand the origin and growth of the working class, the secret springs of capitalist production, the significance of the working class in it, the position of this class, the essence of its struggle, its organization and historical task.

In the fall of 1889, Mikhail entered the student circle of the propagandists of his institute, which was going to Harbor, on Vasilyevsky Island. Gradually, he became the largest working-class circle in St. Petersburg, uniting highly competent advanced workers.

In Petersburg, as early as the beginning of 1890, there were up to twenty workers' circles in which propaganda was carried out by intellectual propagandists; A number of circles led by the workers themselves also worked. It was clear that there was a need to abandon the circle of isolation and enter a wide arena of political struggle. A social democratic organization was created, which in the history of the Russian revolutionary movement was called the “Brusnev group”. It consisted of two divisions: the "intellectual center" headed by Brusnevym, who led the organization and coordinated the activities of the working groups, and the "Central Working Committee", which directly supervised the activities of the working groups at large industrial enterprises: Putilovsky, Obukhovsky, Baltic and other factories. The core of the intelligentsia center was Marxist students of the Technological, Forestry, Mining Institutes and St. Petersburg University, among whom were such individuals as Leonid Borisovich Krasin, Mikhail Stepanovich Olminsky, Vladimir Vladimirovich Svyatlovsky and others, but the clear leader was Brusnev. His associate, Nadia Krupskaya, spoke of him like this:

- An amazing man, Mikhail Ivanovich ... A clear, calm Russian mind and character ... And such utmost devotion to the workplace! .. You’re more confident, stronger you start to feel yourself ... He even has such a suitable name — Brusnew: something reliable, strong ...

Brusnev's group led the strikes at the factories, staged a grand demonstration during the funeral of publicist Nikolai Vasilievich Shelgunov, for the first time in Russia held a May Day celebration for workers.

In 1891, the Society of Technologists made several proposals to Brusnev who graduated from the Institute. He chose the position of assistant to the head of the carriage department in the workshops of the Moscow-Brest railway and moved to Moscow. The main motive of this choice was the need to strengthen the revolutionary work there: “... I think it’s time to move to another place. After all, Peter is not the whole of Russia. Here the business has already begun, here there is, albeit a rudimentary, but still an independent labor movement. And take at least Moscow ... The second industrial city in the country, the exploitation of a working man is cleaner than the local one, and you can’t hear about any movement in the working environment”.

In Moscow, he tried to continue the revolutionary activities, but the conditions for this there were much more difficult than in the capital. Everything had to start from scratch. Workers' organizations were absent, there were several student circles, at the head of which were random people in the revolutionary movement, without a clear program of action, inclined toward Narodism, i.e. first of all to terror. Through the introduction of provocateurs, illegal activity was completely controlled by the police, who only chose a favorable moment to completely defeat the movement in its very germ.

The arrests began in April 1892. For Brusnevy came in the morning of the 26th.

“April 1892, 26 days, I, Correcting the position of the Moscow Ober-Politsmeister, Colonel Vlasovsky, received information giving grounds to recognize Technologist Mikhail Ivanov Brusnev as harmful to public order and peace of mind, ... decided: Brusneva, pending the identification of the circumstances of the case, to take into custody at the Sretensky Police House with contents in a separate room ... ".

May 4, accompanied by the gendarme, Brusnev was transported to the Moscow provincial prison castle - Taganka.

During the investigation, which lasted for almost two years, Brusnev, unlike almost all those arrested, was neither morally nor physically broken, showing firmness of mind and endurance. The investigation has established that it is Brusnev that is the main figure in this process. "... Just turn around here in Moscow, he did not have time! And give him time! .. ”.

In December 1894, the sentence was pronounced: imprisonment for four years and exile in the territory of Eastern Siberia under the supervision of the police for ten years.

In the prison car, Brusnev was sent to St. Petersburg, where he served a solitary confinement term in the famous “Cross” all over Russia, and then was transferred to Verkhoyansk.

After several years of living in the harshest and wildest conditions, he, having a higher engineering education, was invited to join the group of exiled geologist K.A.Vollosovich, engaged in the preparation of food depots for the expedition E.V. Toll on the New Siberian Islands, as well as geological studies.


Brusnev (left) and Vollosovich


In 1903, Brusnev participated in an expedition to search for the missing Toll group, leading a ground squad. He managed to find Toll site at Cape High on New Siberia Island. From Toll's note, it was clear that on July 13, 1902, his group went to  Bennett Island.

Returning from exile in 1904, Brusnev joined the Union of Engineers social democratic group, but after three years he practically withdrew from active political activity.

After the revolution, he worked as an engineer at the People's Commissariat of Labor, trade missions abroad. In 1923 he published memories of the emergence of the first Social Democratic organizations in Russia.

The memory of Mikhail Ivanovich Brusnev is immortalized by a memorial plaque on the wall of the house number 3 on Kavalergardskaya Street in St. Petersburg, where he lived from 1910 to 1937.


Memorial plaque in St. Petersburg at Kavalergardskaya St., 3, where M.I.Brusnev lived from 1910 to 1937.


Rally at the monument to Brusnev on Victory Day


He was buried in St. Petersburg at the Nikolsky cemetery of the Alexander-Nevsky Monastery. Granite stele installed in the 1960s. The tombstone was restored in the fall of 2016.

An island in Tiksi Bay. There is also on the maps D.Ya. Laptev. Named in 1903, by the commander of the yacht "Zariy" Russian Pjlar expedition FA. Mathisen.


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